HARRISBURG – Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland/Dauphin/Perry) introduced legislation to reduce and reform the state’s regulatory process, holding state agencies transparent and accountable.
Senate Bill 350 would require every state agency to post all permits issued on its publicly accessible website. State agencies would also be required to create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications and clearly state the legal authority that the agency relies on when rejecting a permit application.
“The status quo punishes job creators, farmers, non-profits, local governments, and Pennsylvania taxpayers,” Phillips-Hill said. “By cutting down on permitting delays and bureaucratic red tape, we can avoid significant costly subsidies footed by taxpayers, and, more importantly, we can compete for jobs and businesses once again to grow our economy and provide opportunities for the next generation.”
The tracking system must include processing time, dates of each permit, completeness review, technical review, elevated review, and an estimated time remaining for each incomplete phase of the permit approval process. In addition, a contact person will be assigned to answer any questions about the application process.
The legislation would require state agencies to contract with third-party professional entities at any point a permit is subject to a decision delay.
“Businesses and individuals around the state are often forced to wait lengthy and unknown amounts of time for a permit while their projects and livelihoods suffer. This legislation would give certainty to applicants and ensure maximum transparency from government,” Rothman said.
State agencies would have to submit an annual report to the General Assembly documenting how many applications it reviewed, the average timeframe for permit decisions, number of applications reviewed by third-party reviewers and the number of employees who reviewed the permit applications in each regional office.
The bill was referred to the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee for its consideration.